"The other day i was walking down a crowded street here in San Francisco, and i saw a women in a faux Ramones style motorcycle jacket-it was shorter and boxier, more blue than black, and I immediately thought whoa thats some bullshit, fucking w a classic, not riding a motorcycle, def not a punk in any way, just a poseur. Then I look at myself in a store window: straight legged Japanese Repro jeans from the sixties, vintage warehouse tee shirt, black logger boots, old fashioned mascot glasses. And i thought what a judgmental bullshitter. Now i know what gatekeeping is... I'm wondering about how all of you feel about your clothing choices... Like, again, i've written this before, ideas about authenticity, costuming, gate keeping. I guess i only gate keep in my mind-i'm a very judgmental person, trying to get over it-i would never say anything about anyones clothes but i might think it..."
Dressing up is cool. How to enjoy it is up to you, but I find the traditional channels of entry to be incredibly constricting. Clothing is political, always has been since its inception. And because of that, sticking your head into /r/mfa or styleforum is a bit like wearing sandpaper undergarments. There's two persistent dimensions that grate against your genitals in choosing something as simple as what to wear: class and masculinity. And especially so if you're American. It's not beaten over your head, but there's a definite stench that emanate from these communities outside of fundamentals like color theory or silouettes.
Clothing's significance as a societal hackle cuts across civilations throughout history. From regalia reserved for chiefs to starched ruffles and codpieces, its cultural use transcendental from exposure or modesty was an outward indicator of class or even god-given validity. A normal European peasant could only afford new linen farmwear twice a year and specific items of clothing were restricted by class and enforced by law. The castle corner shitting aristocrats that would establish the tie and suit as Western European dress so analgous to formal wear today still had to play by the royalty's rules. Trends in fashion used to precipitate from the top, manifesting down as attempts at feigning wealth if not prohibited legally from doing so entirely.
The victorious conclusion to WWII reinvigorated domestic industry to a degree where American preoccupations of class gave way to cheap clothing.
Peacocking gave way to a democratized and increasingly hegemonic style of dress, wool suits were traded for cardigans and t-shirts (Originally a US Navy undergarment). As anarchronistic as they may seem, denim jeans' enduring legacy was quite significant in an age of feigning class, one thoroughly repulsed by any callbacks to backwards rural life. And this trend of de-sacralizing clothing has continued, embracing classless dress as its own American uniform. And with it deviating from the spheres of "casual" is often seen as pretentious, unneeded peacocking. This odd flavor of collectivism in the rational egoism republic has definitedly stifled my enjoyment in clothing.
Similarly, reading thread after thread on /fa/ about "whether __ is suitable to wear under __ circumstances" makes me truly appreciate being in Japan.
Those are too fem, that's teetering into cosplay, all those qualifiers floating around are something I don't have to worry about anymore. The pathetic preoccupation with explicit masculinity is also ever-present in every online fashion forum, concentrating if it's populated by boomers. Debates over effeminacy, jinoistic little "made in america" croutons strewn over the sides alongside gas station dick pill ads, there's less meticulous judgement on a coroner's autopsy table. And there's no better thermometer than marketers shuffling under transnational corporations, the activities of collectives literally paid to find out how human beings act. Products for American markets often need to be "masculinized" in order to appeal to insecure burger sensibilities, manifesting into something as simple as a name change. And this trend cuts across hobbies, markets, and product lines. The utterly pornographic Nissan Fairlady series of the 70's turned into the Datsun Z. The Canon Kiss of 35mm fame was localized as the Canon Rebel. I'm surprised the marketers didn't just add flame decals to save some time. Or making Kirby scowl on every box cover? How utterly puerile.
But I'm guilty of all this judgement myself, I remember chuckling at men wearing capris back when I dressed like a Sears catalog model. Now I resemble a Star Wars extra on hot days. Who gives a shit. Traditional menswear will always be baffling to me though. Formality adheres to a set of rather rigid rules on color and fit: it's a uniform with little latitude for fear of looking non-traditional. No wonder every quirky 20-something pairs their grey suit with retina-cauterizing neon socks and handkerchiefs. Just seems like two converging ideas fighting for attention.
before (2017)/after (2019)
Fast-fashion lookbooks are probably the best example of the artificiality that has much of the fashion industry by the gooch: selling volume, presenting lifestyles, it's a meaningless, commercialized pursuit. The arrangement is to be expected as an essential commodity, one that bumps shoulders with food and water. And perhaps my sacralization of plant corpses that we hang off our bodies is an overreaction. But while mainstream attention on sustainability and ethical consumption have passed over food in the 2000's, it lies latent within the world of clothing. Every few months there's a horrendous stream of news coming from Asia strewn across your screen like terrible little croutons. Multinationals point fingers at other competitors' sweatshops and shrug. The system is terrible, but to an acceptable degree.
Workwear around 2010 championed ethical consumption: Know where your garment was sewn, where the fabric was milled, where the staples were grown. Here's Takehiro, he was a NEET for 3 years after college, loves fishing by Enoshima, cheats on his wife of 8 years on the weekends, and sews your jeans in Okayama. But while transparency produces enough bravery to drop triple digits on clothing, it doesn't tackle the underlying issue: An informed consumer buying garments shippied from Japan made by Egyptian textiles is not an ethical consumer.
Inmates at the Eastern Oregon Correctional Institute produce denim clothing to both supply its internal needs, and to sell online. The jeans and coats are distributed on a prehistoric website with the same dry, burecreatic, and almost sanitory language as a DMV form. The phrases "reducing taxpayer costs" and "paying for their own incarceration costs" belt-tightening attitude now sits uncomfortably alongside facts about venal judges shuttling people towards for-profit prisons. As it so happens, the 1682-bed prison is the city of Pendleton´s fourth largest employer. For-profit prison being the most depressing word salad since "sillicone woman" or "youtube celebrity."
The website doesn't mention inmates are paid around $4 to 5 dollars a day for their work, much less that this is a desirable job within the prison. It isn't hard to see why considering the alternatives. Penal labor is an enduring institution in the US, the 13th amendment upholding it explicitly. Your favorite companies have taken advantage of prisoners being paid decimaled wages, even through an ongoing pandemic.
Prison Blues presented a dilemma to many workwear adherents. Legitimacy is one of the draws of workwear, and here was a source of US-made denim garments at inordinately inexpensive prices. Some forum users, no doubt acclimated to spending many times that on their superficial hobby, decried what ideologically violated a genre that championed union labor. Others didn't care.
The alternatives are similarly bleak. Multinational companies like H&M and Uniqlo have no pride like small-scale Workwear manufacturers or budgetary motives like local governments. They'll fabricate the trends and choose their suppliers according to what's most cost-effective to them. As long as they turn a profit anything under the current system is justifiable, whether it's subcontracted sweatshops with little oversight, destroying unsold garments, or using fabric made by slaves.
On the other hand, military garments were purpose-built with an exact demographic and exact role. The designs are unapologetically pragmatic, unmolested by the aching phallus of global capitalism. Instead it's the consummation of bureaucracy and industry, their contribution to the destruction of other human beings. Within this, it's the specialized garments that really catch my attention. Mechanized troops, Paratroopers, Mountain troops, Arctic troops, they all have a different set of stipulations that neccessitate divergent design decisions. Mountain trooops with double-breasted parkas, ski-ready square-toed boots, pass-through pockets, and lots of wool, all emphasizing retention and insulation. This specialization of design through utility is fascinating to me, and it makes clothing a thousand times more compelling. Shame about where it comes from.
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*the following question template has been stolen from welldresseddad
How would you describe your style today, and what are your influences?
Closest genre would probably be Mori boy. Earth tones, varying textures, and a wide silhouette. Miyazaki mountain hermit characters also get me hot and bothered. The original Star Wars trilogy is fascinating with all their practical effects and props. I've always liked the value proposition and purpose-built nature of military surplus so I initially gravitated towards mil-chic/japanese americana. Dyeing, tailoring was all I did. For camo I like very geometric, angular patterns. East German Strichtarn, West German Sumpftarn, Swedish M90, Urban-T to list a few. Linen and leather boots is also a fixation of mine. Once I move I might transition to wool. Excited to see what kind of options there are in cold weather clothing.
When looking for clothes, what factors play into your selections?
I really like unconventional designs and cuts. A lot of surplus looks similar and the essence of fast fashion is entirely derivative so I gravitate towards odd stuff. Asymmetry, texture, layering, oh god take it all in.
Getting hot and bothered over anoraks recently.
Still a focus on asymmetry, texture, layering, but drapeyness above all.
When putting together an outfit combination, do you spend a lot of time considering it?
Not really. Balancing colors is easy when your closet is mostly brown, white, and black. Silhouettes I've been trying to put more thought in. I also need more pants, I've been blowing them off as "all the same."
Does your interest in clothes influence other aspects of your life?
I've become a lot less judgemental about how other people dress. Once you get acclimated with truly deviant stuff, everything else looks so much more acessible. If anything it's a bit disappointing that everyone else doesn't express their passions through their clothing.
It also led to the realization that the most valuable hobbies are one that change your worldview. I cam appreciate more, find joy and inspirationin the mundane. Same thing with photography.
Are you budget-conscious or spendthrift?
I'm a cheapass. Probably haven't spent more than
$500 on my closet. Definitely less than $300 for my footwear as well. $700 on my closet. Definitely less than $500 for my footwear as well. I thrift and sew my own clothes. I'm sure there'll be a gordian knot garment that I'll have to purchase new someday.
Most garmsmen will have a few “grail items” in their collection. Not to out you, but if your house is burning, which garments do you grab?
Probably my DIY Gebirgsjägers Anorak, the feeling of cutting loose threads and wearing it was unrivaled by anything else I've made.
Anyone that buys clothes will have made mistakes, what is your most memorable bad buy?
Only 1 lukewarm purchase and that's a parka from a japanese brand for around $200. Fit is perfect, stitching is flawless, and the material lacks the swish-swash of cheap polyester, but I just don't have any instances to wear it. Too warm at home and I didn't bring it to the dorms. I don't regret it but I haven't gotten my money back in wears so far.
Do you have a dream garment you’d love to own?
Hard to say. I make anything I have my eye on so that eliminates most of my impulse buys. I'd say a Kapital Wool Ring Coat. This thing is gorgeous. It's $600 USD and too complex for me to draft up, especially in wool. Perfectly fits my desert-survivalist theme.
A Kapital Tri-P coat would also be arousing.
All in all, stuff that's too complicated or cost-prohibitive to recreate on my own.
What would you never wear?
Polyester anything, above the knee shorts, flip-flops.
How do you think others would describe your style and garments, do you get any reaction from friends and random strangers?
I've gotten Jedi-core from my roommates.
What are your best tips for buying?
Nothing out of the ordinary but take it slow. Marinate any thoughts when buying your next garment. If it's not particularly versatile and your style isn't streetwear/maximalist, reconsider. Something you can wear everyday is more rewarding than something glued to the clothing rack. Finding versatility within a garment brings more gratification than one perfect but static outfit. And buy used! There's tons of great stuff out there.
Do you have style icons, historic or current?
On lord Knoch no question. Dude patterns and sews his own garments, that shit is insane. Too bad he's probably a neo-nazi. Kamote_Joe also dishes out fire. Lots of Mil-chic/japanese americana for his early stuff. AaronAbogado got me to try out wide/harem pants.
As far as a general stream of inspo goes: Heddels, Saunders Militaria, Well-dressed Dad, TTAG blog
Having a large collection of clothes can dead to changing an outfit on a daily basis, bit if you were going to wear a single outfit the next two weeks, what would it be?
DIY linen hanten, Uniqlo linen shirt, thrifted womens' drawstring pants, beater chippewa boots. Super comfy in temperatures from 30° to 15°.
Do you make any of your own clothes?
Yes! Small stuff like man-purses are easy enough. I've yet to go into dress shirts, backpacks,
or pants but anoraks and kimonos are my jam currently.
How do you see your style evolving going forwards?
Even wider silouettes, geometric patterns, and 18th century military influences.
Hopefully some more denim. Drapey wide drawstring pants are great. Kapital makes some rad stuff. As far as footwear goes I'd like to get some black derbies and Espadrilles.
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Hanten Linen shirt
Overdyed British Army DPM Shirt
- Patterning with some old betsheets, finished product
- 6oz 55% Linen, 45% Rayon Fabric, Guttermann Polyester thread
- Total cost: $20, ~12 hours of work
My first "real" sewing project. Wanted to put an emphasis on an open neck/collarline and overlapping body. Front closure is done via two ties. Neckline and edge finishing was a bit maddening. Patterning was fun, but I would've used heavier cloth to test. Overall, my most refined piece of clothing.
Edit 4/16/19: Added a button so the neckline is a bit higher.
Wrangler 126MJ modified
- Inspiration, relocating breastpockets, result
- Desert DPM Lightweight Combat Jacket
- 100% cotton, Guttermann Polyester thread
- Total cost: $7, ~4 hours of work
- I actually already owned this overdyed jacket, but the symmetrical pockets popped into my head as an idea. Actual cost was $3 after using an ebay code, rest was the cost of the dye. Seeingly simple but fuck me dead are gussetted pockets a pain to sew. Dyed black over 2ish hours, I expect it to turn navy as I wear it more. There's a famous photo of British troops in Afghanistan who dyed their desert DPM green, coming out a grotesque shade of turqoise. Overall, an interesting and versatile jacket that I wear very often.
Hanten Linen Jacket
- Total cost: $30, ~4 hours of work
- Overdyed indigo, modified mandarin collar
Hanten Patchwork Jacket
- 6oz 55% Linen, 45% Rayon Fabric, Guttermann Polyester thread
- Total cost: $20, ~5 hours of work
- This one was rather quick, opting for another pattern that avoided sewing the length of the body and simplified neckline. Drapes well, but I neglected to take out the selvedge on the hem which bugs me. I also need to add pockets and a front closure to make things a bit easier.
Pleated Hanten shirt
- , Guttermann Polyester thread
- Total cost: $40, ~10 hours of work
Mountain Troops Anorak
- 6oz 100% linen, Guttermann Polyester thread
- Total cost: $10, ~8 hours of work
- Really wanted to make another shirt but I've already made a white hanten. Used the same pattern from the brown hanten, simplifies the neckline significantly. Decided to add some pleating to add some folds and looseness. Back is gusseted, front has maetate. looks like shit on a hanger, but I love it when I wear it. Need to think of a closure for this too.
- 7oz 100% linen, polyester thread
- Total cost: $10, ~10 hours of work
- Yep, another one. Started and finished this on the same day I got my mini sewing machine. Disappointingly, the armholes and sleeves came out a tad narrow, but I ended up wearing this as an inner layer anyway. Love the vanilla color, goes well with the myraid of vanilla totebags I have. Very interesting texture as well. Curious as to how I'll wear this in summer.
- 10oz 100% wool, Guttermann polyester thread
- Total cost: $5, ~15 hours of work
Started and finished this on the same day I got my full-sized sewing machine. A tad larger than the brown linen hanten with a different front closure. I really like it! Perfect for winter, oversized for plenty of layers, just pair it with some wide pants and you're set. My only concern is piling, a downside for using cloth as soft as this as outerwear.
Veshchmeshok inspired rucksack
- 5oz 100% cotton, cotton thread
- Total cost: $3, ~10 hours of work
- I really wanted a bucket hat but there's not much latitude in measurements when it comes to sewing one up. I improvise all of my clothing anyway. Anyway, the brim is overlapping rectangles folded over and sewn, making a neat triangle pattern. Dyed with coffee grounds and red onion peels. This thing ended up being two times too big but I can still fuck with it. Sorta resembles a belle hat. Just not what I had envisioned initially. 1/17/2020
- 5oz 100% cotton, cotton thread
- Total cost: $4, ~20 hours of work
- Loosely modelled after the Russian Veshchmeshok, an 18th century sack with straps. The original has seen use from the Russo-Japanese war to the current Ukranian civil war in typical Russian fashion. First time using cotton for something I care about, the sheer cost of it all meant I could experiment a bit. Size-wise it's around 20 liters including the kangaroo flap. I also added some provisions to the rucksack to accompany a bamboo A-frame I made but I'm still figuring it all out. 1/27/2020
- 5oz 100% cotton, Polyester thread
- Total cost: $6, ~5 hours of work
- Manpurses are everywhere in Japan, free from the hypermasculine clownfest back in America. You carry a lot of shit in Japan, so I figured a bag would prevent me from buying a barely-full backpack that I only tolerate. One half has dedicated pockets for stuff like keys, wallet, and battery chargers, while other is slick for large items like umbrellas and towels. The straps were an afterthought but I figured it would be fun to be able to wear it like a harness. Might add some actual D-rings in the future. 3/13/2020 Fixed the exposed bit of zipper 3/23/2020
- 5oz 100% cotton, Polyester thread
- Total cost: $2, ~7 hours of work
- They're pants and they're wide. The pattern is just two rectangles and a triangle as a crotch gusset, minimal fabric waste. The waist is pleated with elastics. Added an ass pocket as well as a waistband wallet/keys pocket to keep things simple. Might dye them later but these things are obscenely wide. And versatile too, you can cuff them high or tie off the ankles. 4/15/2020
- 8oz 55% cotton, 45% linen Polyester thread
- Total cost: $15, ~7 hours of work
- I needed more basics like shirts so off to another jinbei derivative. The first time I've made something with maetate. Still figuring out the front closure and overall length.
- 5oz 100% cotton, Cotton thread
- Total cost: $5, ~5 hours of work
- Loosely inspired by Igiboso worn by buddhist pure land priests. Has an internal pocket and lanyard for keys. I use this thing all the time, especially useful on pants without ass pockets.
- ~1.5m 10oz 35% linen, 65% cotton, polyester thread
- Total cost: $8, ~10 hours of work
- Another one of these. I'm not a terribly big fan of the wrinkled cheap kimono-esque texture that this fabric retains, completely different from typical linen wrinkles. Actually learned a lot this time, Played around with vertical pleats but the silouette came out narrow and nasty. Turns out a short neckline is essential for the drapy figure I'm after. Still figuring out the front closure and sleeves.
- ~1.5m 8oz 100% cotton
- Total cost: $3, ~10 hours of work
- cargo pant. Still working on the Fly, waistline, and hem. Gusseted pockets are hard but satisfying.
Go ahead and ask if you'd like patterns. I improvise most of my projects so it'll probably be a loose collection of hopes and dreams.
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